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Exiled Syrian tracked the porn habits of Assad’s spies

Cyber espionage; Unauthorized use of user privileges

The hacktivist claims to have infiltrated the systems of the country’s brutal police to find evidence that “officers spent their working days watching pornography,” Forbes reports.

The individual, a member of a youth wing of the Syrian opposition, fled to Europe last year after several of his colleagues were arrested by the intelligence agency.

The group had been probing the systems used to snoop on the population of Syria. They uncovered details on hard-core pornography watched by the agency, which is known for its sadism and brutality.

“It was easy to look at the secret police’s systems, which were left wide open to public view. The information they held was scary,” a source told Forbes. “But despite the amount of data kept on the Mukhabarat systems, the security was extremely lax and unsophisticated. We were able to observe the different pornographic habits of each of the agents’ bases, as well as records of the web traffic of much of the Syrian population. What we found was that agents would watch pornography whilst at work.”

The hacker purports to be attempting to expose the Syrian regime’s use of deep packet inspection hardware made by Blue Coat, a U.S. company. The firm has denied giving the technology to Syria, where it is used to filter the Internet and identify dissenters.

The group apparently piggybacked off data leaked earlier by Telecomix, which contained 54 gigabytes of records showing spies recorded ordinary citizens’ IP addresses and which sites they attempted to access.

The anti-government activists then accessed uncensored versions of these logs, showing the web activity of the government and secret police. This allowed them to identify the IP addresses of secret police bases which had permission to bypass the filter set up to black out parts of the Internet.

“They were then able to see that agents had accessed sites like xHamster, Youporn and even the casual dating website Adult FriendFinder, which were otherwise banned to the rest of the Syrian public,” Forbes writes.

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.


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November 20, 2013

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